The South Lafourche Leonard Miller, Jr. Airport, located in Galliano, Louisiana, was originally conceived in the early 1970s by interested citizens of Lafourche Parish, who worked in concert with elected officials and the Louisiana Office of Aviation & Public Transportation. They recognized that air transportation would prove to be a valuable element of the transportation system for both Lafourche Parish and the Gulf coast. Under the Port Commission’s leadership, the South Lafourche Airport has proven to be a boon to both transportation services and the local economy.
The Greater Lafourche Port Commission acquired the South Lafourche Leonard J. Miller, Jr. Airport from the Lafourche Parish Government in November 2001 because they saw the South Lafourche Airport, a short 22-mile drive or 10-minute helicopter ride to Port Fourchon, as an opportunity to support the continued development of the port and offshore mineral exploration and production by providing enhanced air transportation services. The Port Commission also acquired 1,200 acres surrounding the airport, which are slated for industrial development of aviation-related businesses in support of oil and gas activities at Port Fourchon and in the Gulf of Mexico.
Shortly after the airfield acquisition, the federal and state governments funded an Airport Master Plan to provide a clear view of the South Lafourche Airport’s future and its potential contributions to the region. Quick, short-term improvements were implemented, including establishing onsite security measures, ensuring fueling capabilities, re-surfacing Airport Road, constructing a hangar for aircraft storage, and upgrading the runway markings and lighting.
The Port Commission surpassed the original master plan recommendations with projects like extending the runway from 3,800 to 6,500 feet, widening it from 75 to 100 feet, and resurfacing it, strengthening the runway and aircraft parking apron to support wheel loads up to 75,000 pounds, installing airfield lighting, signage, and navigational aids (NAVAIDS), and constructing a full parallel taxiway.
The Airport Master Plan was updated in 2013, with new goals far exceeding the airport’s original scope. In addition, a Localizer antenna, Distance Measuring Equipment (DME), Precision Approach Path Indicators (PAPI), a Glideslope, and an Automated Weather Observation Station (AWOS-3PT) have been installed in order to complete the airport’s Instrument Landing System (ILS). The new ILS allows pilots to navigate to the airport during horizontal visibility conditions as low as ½ mile and vertical visibility conditions as low as 200’ above ground level (AGL). Recently the terminal apron area was also expanded in order to support plans for a new airport terminal facility.
Moving forward, projects include airport access road improvements, a storm water master plan, implementation of airfield lighting upgrades, and continued industrial park development.
As a result of the Port Commission’s aggressive improvements, the airport is showing aggressive growth. Within the last few years, total aircraft operations at the South Lafourche Airport were the highest in airport history, exceeding 20,000 operations each year.